UPDATE: Seems the Mets worded their initial announcement a little awkwardly. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Santana has been cleared to throw before spring training, not now.
Friday, 5:35 PM: You’ll recall that Johan Santana underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder in September. At the time it was reported that the time table for rehab was 24 weeks and that he could throw at 20 weeks. That would have had him throwing in mid-February. Seems he about a month ahead of schedule, because Santana has been cleared to begin a throwing program.
Keep in mind this is a throwing program — not a pitching program — so Santana is still early on his way down the comeback trail. Most folks believe that he won’t be ready for game action until mid-season. If the Mets are way out of it by then, I’d guess they’d move it past the All-Star break just to be safe.
But hey, even a little good news is good news, right?
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.